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More than a Religion

Malise Ruthven: ‘What Is Islam?’, 8 September 2016

What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic 
by Shahab Ahmed.
Princeton, 609 pp., £29.95, November 2015, 978 0 691 16418 2
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... variance with the liberal consensus – then the modern nation-state may now be in deep trouble. Shahab Ahmed, who died last year of leukaemia at the age of 48, wrestles with this question in his long, extraordinary, ungainly book, which hovers uneasily between a cultural manifesto and a reader for graduate students. Its unusual approach – there are ...

Searching for the Bee

Helen Pfeifer: Rarities and Marvels, 30 November 2023

‘Wonders and Rarities’: The Marvellous Book that Travelled the World and Mapped the Cosmos 
by Travis Zadeh.
Harvard, 445 pp., £33.95, October, 978 0 674 25845 7
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... Safavids and Mughals. The spirit and the geography of Zadeh’s book are inspired by what Shahab Ahmed called the ‘Balkans to Bengal complex’, the incubator of a form of Islam that flourished alongside – and in many ways ran counter to – the legalistic tradition championed by jurists based in Arab lands. Qazwini’s world had Persia at ...

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